Metallurgy: Self-Healing Steel

So strong are some of today's steel alloys that four one-inch-square bars will easily support the weight of a 125-ton jet airliner. Yet even the best of these metals will crack and shatter if they are subjected to much greater stress. Earlier this month, a research team at the University of California's Lawrence Radiation Laboratory announced development of a super steel alloy that will bear as much as 4 times more pressure than common structural steels without breaking.

The brainchild of Engineers Victor F. Zackay and Earl R. Parker, the new alloy is called TRIP (for transformation-induced plasticity) steel....

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